Combining Art and Coffee? Coffee Painting

In recent years, numerous uses for coffee have been discovered, e.g. B. in aesthetics, in cosmetic products, in agriculture as fertilizer, in energy drinks and much more. Have you heard of making art with coffee?

Coffee painting or Arfe – Art with coffee

He called it ”Arfe” Art with coffee that is made with coffee, water, ground coffee beans, brushes, a canvas or paper and lots of creativity. In this art there are already several artists who, from portraits of people to landscapes of the world, make valuable paintings like the Mona Lisa.

Usually this practice is referred to as coffee painting, making it an innovative trend in art and for coffee lovers.

Where does the art of coffee come from?

According to Marina Vélez, the author of drawings with coffee, everything that used tea to color the paper comes from China. Because of this tradition or custom, many years ago (an exact date has not yet been found), people began to follow the same path with coffee. It began to be imported into Europe to be used as a painting material.

This also goes back to the tradition of using natural pigments. Coffee is also one of these pigments, which, thanks to its color and nuances, could be processed.

Materials needed to paint with coffee

From its inception, the technique of coffee painting has required no more materials than those known in ordinary painting; some of them are:

  • Coffee, depending on the style you want to achieve while painting
  • Water to dilute the coffee
  • Vessels to mix water and coffee
  • Mixing instruments
  • A thick paper
  • Brushes range from the well-known brush to everything that looks like it or is used for it

Be your own artist

First, we will explore the versatility of coffee and color and how we can use them.

We will look at the shades and the saturation of the coffee in two rectangles about 5 cm wide and 15 cm long or whatever size you want.

  • We pour instant coffee or instant coffee into a container or glass about half full with water, add two tablespoons of coffee and mix until we reach the desired consistency.


We’ll take one of our rectangles, divide it into 4 or 5 sections, or as many as you’d like, and then paint a first coat of our coffee solution over the entire rectangle.

Note: Soluble coffee works in a similar way to watercolor paints, so we need to be patient while drying to get the desired result.

In ascending order, we apply a layer to each section, example:

  • Section 1: 1 layer
  • Section 2: 2 layers
  • Section 3: 3 layers
  • Section 4: 4 layers

Smooth gradient

This is easier than the previous one.

We take our brush and start painting from one end to the other, increasing the saturation from the first end and fading the color until it merges with the color of the paper. We achieve this by dipping the brush in clean water to soften the color and get the right saturation. And so forth…

It is important:

  • Always have several containers ready for diluting and mixing.
  • The type of paper is influenced by the physical properties of soluble coffee, so you should choose paper that is as thick as possible.
  • Depending on the saturation of the coffee and its color, it gets a noticeable sheen as if it weren’t dried, but that’s a property of color.
  • Once they understand this technique, they should imagine painting and experimenting with this technique.

Who are the most famous artists for coffee art?

It is important to note that some of these artists have pointed out that it is a complex technique, even more complex than watercolor painting. This is because coffee has a sticky texture that makes it difficult to control on the paper and change the texture of the canvas or paper.

Coffee painting has spawned a variety of artists as this technique has become very popular around the world.

The following 10 artists in coffee art:

The Monster Coffee

This is the nickname of Stefan, a lover of coffee and drawings. Stefan tells how he accidentally spilled his coffee in the winter of 2011. Through curiosity he came to coffee art. He drew a coffee monster and his friends. This creation has led him to paint more than 600 variants or types of these coffee monsters.

Giulia Bernandeli

To create her works, Bernandeli first takes a cup of coffee and intentionally spills it to start painting. The curious thing about her technique is that her brush is not very conventional. She uses a spoon and matches to add detail to her work.

Bernandeli has recreated works like the Mona Lisa, The Creation of Adam and The Birth of Venus.

Michael Aaron Williams

According to his blog, Michael Aaron Williams uses paper from his antique ledger, which is almost 200 years old. This old paper dates from the late 1800s to the late 1900s and was stored in his family’s old, abandoned shop.

Karen Eland

“Each picture was painted using only coffee and water,” reads the headline on Eland’s website.

Karen Eland has been an artist (drawer) and coffee lover since she was young.

One day she wanted to combine these two things – and boom! The result for her, as expected, was to find a new form in her art, to discover and develop the potential of her art by first recreating her works and working on her new ideas and ways of expressing them.

Ghidaq al-Nizar

He started out as a café latte (milk coffee) artist, but wanted to experiment. Al-Nizar takes coffee from his cup and spreads it out on the canvas, which is not made of paper but of a tree leaf.

The result is an incredible combination of tones reminiscent of sepia. The catalog of his works can be found not only on this characteristic canvas, but also on crockery or wood, combining the usable parts of coffee, from the brew itself to the whole, ground beans.

Angel Sarkela Saur and Andrew Saur

The two artists from the United States create their works together and develop this technique together. They started down this path because they wanted to do an exhibit at the Duluth Coffee House in Minnesota.

Hong Yi

She is an artist and architect of Malaysian descent.

The works of this artist are painted with coffee and a cup. Her paintings use the typical marks left on a surface by coffee-stained cups. Shadows are created by superimposing these patches.

Her most characteristic work is the portrait of the writer and singer Tawinaes Jay Chou.

Godfrey Caleb

This artist had a very similar beginning as Stefan. The idea came about because he also accidentally spilled coffee on a piece of paper, after which he made a phone call and while speaking managed to make a drawing on the stained paper.

“Life is better with coffee” is the famous quote from Godfrey Caleb.

Sunshine Plata

The Filipino artist creates his blends by varying the percentage of coffee and water.

It all started when he was looking for alternatives to traditional oil paints and this was the cheapest he could find.

At first, he only used water and coffee, but as he gained more experience with this technique, he mixed it with watercolors to get further variations in the tonalities of this color.